AS BUSY executives, we juggle a lot of balls — client requests, team member demands, family demands, the list goes on and on.

When you have so many balls in the air, eventually you are going to drop one.

It happened to me today.

I received an e-mail message from a client asking me if I sent a promotional e-mail out last week. I created the template, but for whatever reason, the e-mail never got sent.

So what do you do in a situation where you have dropped a ball — an important one — and now you have to face the music? Here are my suggestions:



First and foremost, apologise. You screwed up. It happens. You are human. We are not perfect and we will make mistakes. Say you are sorry.


 Accept responsibility

Years ago, I would make up excuses, blame others, do anything to avoid taking personal responsibility.

I learnt a very valuable lesson: When you take personal responsibility, not only do you feel better, but the other party generally does too.

In the case of my blunder today, I told her how sorry I was, that I really didn’t know what happened, but ultimately it was up to me to follow up and make sure that the e-mail went out.

I could have easily blamed the software, the kids, Mercury being in retrograde or any number of other things. The fact is, it was my mistake.


 Fix the issue

Come up with an immediate solution to solve the issue.

If there is no immediate solution, at least present some ideas to work towards a solution together. But do what it takes to fix the issue, on your own time.

I never charge a client for my mistakes. In my case, I checked to see that the e-mail could still go out today and be effective, so that was what I ended up doing.


 Put a system in place to ensure
it doesn’t happen again

When working with employers, managers, clients and so on, their biggest concern is that the mistake doesn’t happen again.

Create a checks and balances process to be sure you have all pieces, parts and steps completed — even if it is a simple spreadsheet with the steps listed out.

In my case, I believe the error happened with my failing to follow up with the client to be sure that the e-mail was approved for sending out.

So in the future, I will make sure I make a note, set a reminder, something to remind myself that I need to get an approval.


 Don’t beat yourself up

This is a tough thing to do. I used to really get upset when I made a mistake. I would berate myself for hours.

Now, I simply say: “OK, I screwed up. How can I do better next time? It’s not worth it to beat myself up over it.”

So, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and move forward.


 Learn from your mistakes

I always say they aren’t truly mistakes. They are lessons. What is the lesson to learn from what happened?

For me, it was being informed that there was a hole in my system — something I needed to revise. Mistakes are lessons — learn from them.


 Slow down

Most often, mistakes happen because we are in a rush to get something done. Slow down, take your time and do it right the first time.

Trying to get things done in a hurry tends to trip you up in the long run. Mistakes are costly — in time, money and energy spent to fix them.

Slow down. We are human. We live in an environment now that changes every second.

As a society, we tend to think that unless we are juggling a million balls and a thousand plates, we are slacking. This causes stress, health issues and, ultimately, can harm your business.

Stop. Take a breath. Is there anything on your plate that you can either delegate to someone else, or put off for another day that’s not so busy?

Article by Tracey Osborne, an expert online business manager and virtual assistant who assists high-achieving entrepreneurs by managing behind-the-scenes operations. For more information, visit Article source: